Before Coronavirus 2020
I turned 23 on March 6th and had a barbecue with my closest friends. Less than 10 days later, I discovered I would not be able to come within six feet of said friends. A week after that, a stay-at-home ordinance was put in place. Restaurants, hair and nail salons, spas, boutique shops, pet stores, department stores and doctors’ offices all closed. Events were cancelled. The idea of going out at all was put to rest virtually overnight. Within two weeks of turning 23, the world seemed to stop, and I was left reeling. As a recent graduate, I grew accustomed to being out in the world, working 50-60 hours a week. Around my work schedule, I prioritized quality connections with my friends and family. This pandemic has caused everything in my life to change, as it has for so many others.
I am writing this blog to give insight on my experience with this pandemic, in the hopes that others can relate and attain comfort from my experience. For once, we are not alone in the struggle.
I worked full time while going to school. My mentality has always been go, go, go. I had been conditioned to feel worthless unless I was constantly productive and busy. Before COVID-19, if I had not checked off all the things on my to-do list before going to bed, I could not sleep. There were no days off for over six months, and I did not have a day off planned for another six months. I was exhausted, and honestly thought that being tired but busy was what gave me purpose.
After the World Shut Down
Two weeks into self-isolation, I felt useless and worthless. Stuck in my apartment with nothing to do, I would check the news every morning, but that was it. The anxiety it caused was not worth it. Now, I make sure I get up early and do yoga every day. It is only 20 minutes, but it’s something. I prioritize eating regularly and healthy, something I did not seem to have the time for before. A to-do list is made daily, and forgive myself if I do not complete every task. I have been successful in getting at least an hour of sunshine a day, and I finish each day with a gratitude list.
When Things Go Back to Normal
The first two weeks of isolation were rough. I thought I had to come out of this forced free time with a renewed purpose for life. Instead, I have found myself able to notice the small moments in a day. The little things that the swiftness of my life was taking from me. The way my cat can find any patch of sunlight to lay in. The smell of my morning coffee that I get to sit and enjoy, for a change. The silly moments with my roommate that used to be much fewer. Calling a friend and enjoying a conversation without having to run off in the middle.
What I am saying is, maybe this time can be used to create a new normal post-COVID. Instead of waiting for everything to go back to what we knew, adapting to these changes may be the point of all of this. The way we operate as a whole has an impact, and if this pandemic has shown us anything, it is that humans have the power to create lasting change.